Cooler weather is upon us, and in Chicago we can still appreciate the architecture in an excellent way - from the inside of buildings. As famous architecture critic Bruno Zevi says, to look at architecture one must consider "architecture as space," and you just don't get that perspective from the outside.
Architecture From The Inside Out
When you view a structure from the outside, you experience the exterior form and you can get a sense of structure, material and ornamentation. However once you go inside you see more architectural design and beauty as well as the inner workings, the humanity inside, and architectural space. This depth of perspective one gets from architectural interiors, and this more cultural approach of looking at architecture, is what motivates me to educate the public on architecture. The exterior is just an introduction and stepping inside brings an understanding of architecture to another level.
So many buildings hold secret escapes within if only you step inside. Probably one of the most striking architectural experiences for anyone visiting or living in Chicago is inside the Chicago Cultural Center with its shimmering Tiffany mosaics and neoclassical details. Or take the Thompson Center - lots of people groan about its exterior but once you feel the uplifting expanse of the atrium indoors these feelings change. One can't possibly detail all the possibilities of interior architecture to see in Chicago, but you can be assured that they include every neighborhood, and anything from community centers and churches to factories and bridge houses.
Hop On A Chicago Detour
Several of the tours with my tour company, Chicago Detours, explore architectural interiors to bring alive the psychology behind architectural space and the stories of the people behind the buildings to provide a distinctly cultural approach to architectural discovery. The "Loop Interior Architectural Tour" wanders downtown lobbies, overlooked interior spaces and the underground Pedway system to share an in-depth overview of Chicago that even natives appreciate. Our "Historic Bar Tour" also stays primarily indoors, to view the lavish 1920s lobbies and bars inside historic buildings to uncover the untold stories behind ways people have had fun in the city over history.
Beyond taking a tour, you can of course step into downtown lobbies for a peek. In addition to finding architectural features like marble staircases from the past or abstract art installations from the present, you'll probably find a cozy space to warm up from our impending winter.